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By | March 2013
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Employment and industrial relations in the EU are shaped by legal norms based on EU law. They define, on the one hand, the rights and obligations of employers and their organizations and, on the other, those of employees and trade unions. These rights and obligations may be contained in a variety of EU legal measures- regulations, directives and decisions. Increasingly, EU legal norms are also shaped by agreements that the parties voluntarily enter into and by soft law mechanisms. Fundamental principles of EU law. Access to the judicial process is a general principle of EU law. The role of fundamental rights in the EU legal order is also important; for example, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has held equality between women and men to be a fundamental principle of EU law and has upheld the justiciability of the principle of equal pay, thereby enabling this fundamental right to be enforced before national courts. The issue of justiciability and enforcement of EU law for long remained an open question with regard to the much wider range of fundamental rights of labour contained within the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers, as adopted by the European Parliament in 2007. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009 the justiciability of the EU Charter’s fundamental individual and collective rights is one option open to the ECJ in order to strengthen enforcement of EU norms in the field of employment and industrial relations. It is part of the constant evolution of doctrine by the ECJ faced with Euro-litigation strategies: the use of EU law in litigation in order to achieve objectives in the employment and industrial relations fields. Individual workers, their representatives or trade unions may rely on EU law to claim individual employment or collective labour rights before national labour courts or tribunals in a Member State. The doctrine of supremacy of EU law means that EU law prevails over national...

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